When it comes to email marketing software, ActiveCampaign and AWeber stand out as two of the most popular choices on the market. Selecting the right platform is critical for business owners who want to maximize the impact of their email campaigns.
In this ActiveCampaign vs AWeber comparison article, we evaluate the two platforms across several key criteria to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each platform. We will look at market position and popularity, ease of use, customization options, features and functionality, website performance, customer support, pricing, and reviews and reputation.
Examining these factors will reveal which solution is best suited for different business needs and use cases. Read on to learn which platform comes out on top across the most important evaluation metrics.
1. Understanding the Basics
Founded in 1998 by Tom Kulzer, AWeber is one of the original email marketing platforms. With decades of experience delivering email campaigns, AWeber holds a 9% market share and over 150,000 customers.
ActiveCampaign entered the scene in 2003 when founder Jason VandeBoom created the software as an integrated marketing and sales platform. While younger, ActiveCampaign has quickly gained popularity with over 200,000 customers worldwide.
Both platforms have active user communities on Facebook:
Joining these groups allows subscribers on both platforms to connect, ask questions, and share best practices. With established reputations and widespread adoption, AWeber and ActiveCampaign are leading choices for email marketing and beyond.
2. Features and Functionality
ActiveCampaign stands out for its robust automation features and seamless workflows. Users can create sequences that trigger based on subscriber actions, schedule a series of emails, and customize experiences for each contact.
With ActiveCampaign’s visual automation builder, you can set up workflows without any coding. Automations involve emails sent at timed intervals, as well as actions based on email opens, clicking links, filling out forms, and more.
For example, you could automatically enroll contacts in a 4-email onboarding sequence when they subscribe or send subscription confirmation emails that direct them to specific pages on your site.
Advanced options include segmenting contacts, updating custom field values, adding tags when goals are achieved, and integrating with other platforms like CRM software. ActiveCampaign’s automation capabilities are highly customizable while still being user-friendly.
AWeber also provides automation through its Follow-Up Email series and Triggers. The drag-and-drop editor makes it easy to create sequences based on subscriber behaviors, though the functionality is less robust compared to ActiveCampaign.
You can send a predetermined series of messages over any duration while customizing who receives each message. AWeber’s Triggers tool allows you to automate messages when a contact is added, clicks a link, or has not opened an email after a set number of days. Their automation focuses on email follow-ups rather than complex multi-channel workflows.
While AWeber delivers straightforward email sequencing options, ActiveCampaign has more advanced behavioral trigging and customization in its automation builder. You can create highly tailored journeys with more flexibility to adapt based on user actions across email, site interactions, and even offline activity.
With its user-friendly yet sophisticated visual automation builder, ActiveCampaign takes the prize for best overall automation capabilities. You get the versatility to create automated, personalized sequences beyond basic drip campaigns without needing technical skills. ActiveCampaign’s robust features, segmentation, and integrations enable customized journeys that engage each subscriber.
ActiveCampaign provides hundreds of professionally designed email templates that you can fully customize to match your brand. Templates are organized by category, making it easy to find options for welcome series, promotions, newsletters, and more.
When selecting a template, you can view multiple examples within each category before choosing the perfect design. The template editor allows you to rearrange layout blocks, and modify colors, fonts, images, and text for complete control. If you need inspiration, the template gallery showcases creative designs from top email designers.
ActiveCampaign also includes a custom code template where developers can craft emails through HTML and CSS. Between beautiful pre-made templates and custom code options, ActiveCampaign enables both marketers and coders to create on-brand campaigns.
Similarly, AWeber offers professionally designed templates covering common email types like welcome messages, announcements, event invitations, and product updates. While template selection is more limited compared to ActiveCampaign, there is enough variety for basic email needs.
AWeber’s template editor provides user-friendly customization of template elements without needing to touch code. You can tweak everything from colors to content blocks, images, buttons, dividers, and more. But if you prefer coding your templates, AWeber supports custom HTML templates as well.
Overall, ActiveCampaign simply provides more template choices with easier arrangement of design elements. But for simpler email needs, AWeber templates can still deliver eye-catching results.
With 3X more templates that are creatively categorized and designed, ActiveCampaign earns the win for best email templates. The template editor makes it incredibly user-friendly to craft unique emails through rearrangeable layout blocks, stylish components, and custom code options.
Both platforms allow HTML coding expertise if desired. Yet ActiveCampaign’s wider range of professionally made templates that can be adapted to any brand secures the lead.
ActiveCampaign enables in-depth subscriber segmentation with tags, custom contact fields, and automation rules. You can create unlimited tags and organize contacts based on categories like demographics, interests, purchase history, and more. By building targeted lists around tag combinations, you send the most relevant content to re-engage each group.
Custom fields also allow for capturing unique data points for advanced segmentation. Discover behavioral patterns and create highly personalized messages tailored to the custom field values in your subscriber profiles. Furthermore, ActiveCampaign’s automation builder lets you trigger workflows based on any subscriber filter for customized journeys by segment.
AWeber also provides tag-based segmentation to categorize subscribers and send tailored content. You can target groups by location, purchase frequency, age range, interests, and other identifiers stored in contact profiles. While AWeber has the basics covered for grouping contacts, capabilities are not as advanced compared to ActiveCampaign.
For example, AWeber lacks automation tied directly to subscriber tags. There is also a limit of 10 custom fields per list to capture added data for segmentation.
With less flexibility in building custom contact profiles outside the standard fields, AWeber misses opportunities for the same depth of personalization. Nevertheless, basic tagging and segmentation options do allow more targeted broadcasts based on defined subscriber attributes.
ActiveCampaign is the clear winner for segmentation and personalization abilities. With unlimited tags, custom fields, and automation segmentation, ActiveCampaign makes it easy to gain a 360-degree subscriber view and craft hyper-targeted messaging flows.
Although AWeber checks the boxes for basic grouping with tags, list segmentation in ActiveCampaign achieves a richer level of customization and precision.
ActiveCampaign stands out for its powerful email analytics at every plan level. Email reports provide open, clickthrough, and conversion tracking to optimize campaigns. You can view results by individual messages or full series for insights into top-performing content.
Segmenting reporting by custom tags and user fields allows analyzing how different subscriber groups engage with your emails. Real-time reports refresh continually so you can monitor a campaign’s progress as it sends. Custom dashboards give visibility into crucial email and business metrics all in one place.
Advanced features include A/B testing email components like subject lines, content blocks, calls to action, and send times. Discover what resonates best with subscribers for continual optimization. Overall, ActiveCampaign’s analytics offer complete visibility with robust segmentation and testing capabilities.
For core statistics, AWeber tracks open and click rates to inform email strategy. You can access subscriber engagement metrics for each campaign or across your entire account. Reports can be filtered by list, templates, and date range, with data exportable for further analysis.
The use case is more limited compared to ActiveCampaign – lacking real-time refresh, A/B testing, and segmentation by custom fields and tags. However, for basic email analytics needs, AWeber provides the key indicators of campaign performance and subscriber response rates over time.
With more advanced, customizable analytics and testing, ActiveCampaign earns the top spot for email insights and optimization abilities. Segmentation, real-time dashboards, and A/B testing afford greater opportunities to act on analytics. While AWeber supplies reporting on email metrics, ActiveCampaign goes further to help continually improve through data.
A standout element of ActiveCampaign is its built-in CRM and marketing automation beyond email. Within the same platform, you get solutions for email, sales pipeline management, landing page creation, SMS marketing, event tracking, and more with powerful integrations.
Unlike AWeber’s sole focus on email functionality, ActiveCampaign consolidates channels for a true 360-degree subscriber view. Lifecycle stages, sales deal stages, automated sales assignments, and scoring models turn insights into personalized experiences. ActiveCampaign essentially operates an all-in-one inbound marketing and sales hub powered by automation.
While AWeber lacks the extensive capabilities found in ActiveCampaign’s integrated platform, unique features include multi-circle visualizations and an email inspiration tool.
Multicircle graphs let you compare stats across different email lists or campaigns. The visual design offers an alternative perspective of your account’s metrics. AWeber’s idea generator The Insider suggests timely, popular email content that could resonate with your subscribers based on their demographics and interests.
However, AWeber does not have the robust feature set or seamless cross-channel orchestration included with ActiveCampaign.
With its all-in-one inbound marketing channels and sales software functionalities, ActiveCampaign stands out over the exclusively email-focused AWeber toolset. Complete customer experiences require an integrated view of every subscriber touchpoint.
ActiveCampaign makes this achievable through its unified automation across email, SMS, landing pages, forms, and more within a built-in CRM. For the most robust capabilities beyond basic email marketing, ActiveCampaign wins for unique features.
3. Ease of Use
ActiveCampaign provides an intuitive, modern interface that most users find easy to navigate. The left sidebar allows quickly accessing all of ActiveCampaign’s robust features from email to sales automation tools. Despite its powerful functionality, the platform makes it simple for beginners to get started.
User experience is enhanced by an interactive tour, helpful tooltips, and product walkthroughs. Setting up your first campaign or automation workflow takes just minutes with guidance.
Even complex or advanced features remain approachable thanks to visual builders requiring no coding expertise. Whether sending initial messages or crafting customized journeys, ActiveCampaign enables it with simplicity.
Similarly, AWeber delivers user-friendly email marketing through its streaming dashboard design. Core features have a gentle learning curve for fast onboarding and campaign creation from day one. AWeber’s aesthetics and layout focus exclusively on email with fewer ancillary tools resulting in an uncomplicated product.
While ActiveCampaign guides users thoroughly in leveraging its more robust capabilities, AWeber takes a pared-back approach. Straightforward broadcast email functionality allows beginners to quickly master basics. However, those seeking more advanced integrations or extensive automation may desire more support. Nevertheless, simplicity benefits those with basic email needs.
For the best overall user experience, ActiveCampaign wins for delivering simplicity without sacrificing sophistication. Through guided tours and an intuitive interface, first-time users can swiftly build emails, automation, and complex campaigns.
Yet advanced marketing teams will still access specialized tools made approachable. With both fast onboarding and long-term depth, ActiveCampaign takes the lead in being equally user-friendly to email novices and experts.
4. Email Deliverability
ActiveCampaign prioritizes deliverability through proprietary technology, inbox testing, and compliance monitoring. Its unique Message Response Agent evaluates account signals and recommends improvements if deliverability dips. Meanwhile, ongoing inbox placement tests provide deliverability metrics benchmarked to your industry.
Adjusting factors like sender reputation, engagement messaging, and reactivation cadences maintains optimal delivery to the inbox. ActiveCampaign also enables granular blocking, throttling, and quarantines by ISP, domain, and geography to identify issues. Staying ahead of inbox provider and regulatory policies for CAN-SPAM, GDPR, and more protects reliable email delivery.
Similarly, AWeber utilizes confirmed opt-in, authentication protocols like SPF and DKIM, and sender monitoring to sustain excellent inbox placement rates. A dedicated deliverability team manually checks blocked or bouncing addresses and proactively resolves problems with ISPs.
AWeber sends test emails to confirm deliverability before major sends, evaluating major inbox providers. However, inbox testing technology is not as robust compared to ActiveCampaign’s real-time response agent. However, strict adherence to global email regulations bolsters the overall sender’s reputation.
With its advanced agent methodology that instantly fixes deliverability obstacles and benchmarked inbox tests, ActiveCampaign wins for best-in-class email deliverability. Both platforms uphold strong sender credibility through compliance and authentication methods.
However, ActiveCampaign goes further with immediate, measurable recommendations tailored to every user’s sending domain and traffic patterns. Keeping your emails out of the spam folder is vital to campaign success.
5. Customer Support and Community
ActiveCampaign provides exceptional customer support through live chat, email tickets, phone, and an online knowledge base. As a premium feature, live chat delivers real-time answers from product experts without long wait times. Support hours span weekends while priority access is included in higher-tier plans.
Self-help resources include webinars, documentation, and an ActiveCampaign Customer Community with 30K members.
This Facebook group allows subscribers to discuss best practices, strategize collectively, and receive input from Advanced Campaign marketers worldwide. Between prompt multichannel assistance and a robust peer forum, users get their questions solved quickly.
In comparison, AWeber offers customer support through business hour phone and email tickets with email response times averaging under 2 hours. Self-service options include webinars and tutorials along with an AWeber User Community Facebook group with over 7,000 members.
While AWeber provides reliable support, they lack 24/7 live chat or prioritized ticket response plans for larger accounts. However, their established Facebook community allows subscribers to discuss issues amongst peers for DIY solutions.
With more support access points, fast live chat, members-only plans providing priority assistance, and a larger product community, ActiveCampaign earns the win for the overall customer support experience. Users benefit from choosing the right support channel at the right time backed by an expansive knowledge base and enthusiastic user community.
ActiveCampaign truly excels at third-party integrations with 750+ native app and Zapier integrations. Seamlessly connect your email marketing automation to essential platforms like WordPress, Shopify, Facebook, Eventbrite, and more.
Built-in integrations automatically share data between tools for tasks like adding email opt-ins to customer profiles, importing product catalogs for targeted email sends, updating CRM records when emails are opened, and tracking event site interactions. Zapier support expands options for miscellaneous apps.
With extensive out-of-the-box and Zapier capabilities, ActiveCampaign centralizes vital information to coordinate targeted cross-channel campaigns at each subscriber touchpoint.
While AWeber offers over 750 integrations through Zapier alone, their native app integration lineup is more limited compared to ActiveCampaign. However, AWeber still delivers core integrations for key platforms like MailChimp, SurveyMonkey, Squarespace, PayPal, Eventbrite, and WordPress.
Their open API also allows developers to build custom connectors between AWeber and external apps. So while native integration possibilities may not be as vast as those accessible through ActiveCampaign, sufficient options help link important systems.
With its wider range of supported platforms natively integrated using two-way syncing, ActiveCampaign surpasses AWeber for the best overall ecosystem of third-party integrations. Although Zapier does close AWeber’s connectivity gaps, ActiveCampaign’s packaged native bi-directionality with prominent tools simplifies getting a martech stack fully coordinated.
The one-click integrations accelerate complete data handoffs, event tracking, and omnichannel coordination without ongoing manual exports or updating external platforms. ActiveCampaign’s breadth and native availability of high-value integrations drive more impact with less work for users thanks to its centralized automation.
ActiveCampaign offers 4 self-serve paid plans tiered by the number of contacts, with costs starting at $29/month for up to 500 subscribers for the Lite plan which includes basic email marketing and automation. The most popular Professional package adds advanced features like scoring and sales pipeline views.
Enterprise options cater to demanding use cases with features like site event tracking, priority support, and SMS marketing. As contact counts grow into the thousands, Enterprise custom pricing is available. Overall, ActiveCampaign’s transparent pricing accommodates small to large account needs reasonably.
AWeber has a free plan and provides tiered pricing plans based on the number of emails sent. Costs range from a $12.50/month plan to the Unlimited plan which costs $899/month.
Entry-level plans cover email basics like templates, drag-and-drop builders, and basic analytics. Stepping up to Advanced unlocks webinars, multivariate tests, and some automation features. However, core costs tend to run higher than comparative ActiveCampaign packages.
With plans starting 30% cheaper than AWeber for smaller accounts to advanced features rolled into more affordable mid-tier plans, ActiveCampaign edges out the win for best overall pricing and value. Both platforms charge reasonably for robust email functionality. However, accessibility for growing SMBs gives ActiveCampaign’s transparent pricing an advantage.
8. Reviews and Reputation
Overall, ActiveCampaign earns glowing reviews for its combination of simplicity and powerful features for both early-stage emailers and experienced marketers. Users highlight its intuitive automation and embedded CRM as standouts versus competitors along with excellent customer service.
Positive testimonials on crowd-sourced sites praise the platform’s ease of use, customization abilities, and robust functionality spanning email to SMS and CX management. Reviews cite seamless integration capabilities plus goal tracking and reporting clarity added as bonuses.
Any negatives relate more to the product’s extensive options being almost too overwhelming initially rather than any core email drawbacks.
AWeber also scores positive marks for its established brand providing streamlined email functionality without complexity. Reviewers call out reliability, deliverability, and straightforward automation flows as advantages. The simple builder interface and fast launch times make it beginner-friendly.
Less positive feedback notes clunky integrations with third-party apps compared to other vendors along with less advanced segmentation options. But overall, in aiming to offer a hassle-free email solution, AWeber finds favor with smaller companies valuing simplicity over intricate campaigns.
With higher overall ratings and reviews emphasizing both convenience for fast onboarding plus advanced functionality over the long term, ActiveCampaign wins over AWeber’s sole focus on basic email. For a 360-degree view of customer experiences using integrated channels beyond basic newsletters, ActiveCampaign satisfies users more completely.
- What forms and data can I capture?
ActiveCampaign lets you create forms for email signups, event registrations, contact updates, surveys, and more – with custom fields to capture meaningful data.
- Does ActiveCampaign offer a free trial?
Yes, a 14-day free trial is available to explore features first. You get access to the entire solution including automation and CRM with full support.
- How do I connect ActiveCampaign to my website?
Installing a site tracking code snippet or plugins for platforms like Shopify enables capturing every site visit and interaction automatically for subscriber profiles.
- Does ActiveCampaign handle email compliance needs?
Yes, ActiveCampaign incorporates GDPR standards, granular consent options, address list validation, spam testing, and other protocols to maximize mail deliverability.
- Can I upgrade my account plan features if needed?
Definitely – accounts can upgrade or downgrade subscription plans instantly to match contact volumes and feature requirements month-to-month.
- What kind of automation can I set up in AWeber?
You can easily create email follow-up series, welcome sequences, post-registration flows, and segment-targeted campaigns based on user behaviors.
- Is there A/B testing?
AWeber supports subject line testing and content block testing so you can optimize elements that drive the most engagement.
- How does AWeber manage blocked or bounced emails?
AWeber’s deliverability team handles blocked, bounced, or reported spam addresses to maintain your domain’s sender reputation with rapid response rates.
- Can I brand email templates?
Yes, each pre-made template can be customized to match your images, logo, colors, and content using an intuitive drag-and-drop editor.
- Are there any long-term contracts?
No, AWeber offers flexible monthly plans rather than requiring annual commitments so you can adjust service levels as business needs evolve.
Choose ActiveCampaign if…
With its combination of ease of use plus built-in CRM and advanced automation, ActiveCampaign suits both early-stage entrepreneurs and growing companies alike. The unified data and extensive integrations provide complete views of every customer touchpoint for coordinated cross-channel experiences. Choose ActiveCampaign for in-depth subscriber journey orchestration.
Choose AWeber if…
For SMBs and solopreneurs focused exclusively on email who desire a simplified solution above all else, AWeber delivers. The streamlined workflow and minimal interface allow first-timers to master campaign creation without learning curves slowing adoption. Reliable deliverability, compliance, and segment messaging make it a lower-barrier entry point for basic email execution.
Selecting the right email marketing platform for unique business needs and growth plans is essential. If you have any additional questions about whether ActiveCampaign or AWeber is better suited for your goals and use case, please ask in the comments section below! We’re happy to provide personalized guidance on aligning with the best software solution.